ST. PETERSBURG — Matt Carpenter was hungry for another opportunity to play in the big leagues. He is elated to have found it with the first-place Yankees.
“If they want me to load the bags on the plane, that’s what I’ll do,” Carpenter said on Thursday at Tropicana Field. “I’m excited to put a Yankees uniform on and be part of the best team in baseball right now. I’m just fired up to be here, whatever that role looks like.”
The Yankees signed Carpenter to a Major League contract and added the three-time All-Star to their active roster before Thursday’s series opener against the Rays. Carpenter, 36, was slotted into the lineup at designated hitter when Aaron Hicks was scratched about 45 minutes before first pitch.
Carpenter requested his release after playing 21 games this season at Triple-A Round Rock in the Rangers’ organization. Carpenter was batting .275 (22-for-80) with six home runs and 19 RBIs before being released on May 19.
“We’re excited to get him here,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s someone who’s been on our radar the last couple of months when he was with the Rangers and had that opt-out. He was doing really well in Triple-A. We’d been eyeing him for a while for that left-handed bat off the bench.”
The Yankees have been hit hard by injuries of late, losing outfielder/DH Giancarlo Stanton to right ankle inflammation and third baseman/DH Josh Donaldson to…